Productivity Arata! If you are interested in increasing your productivity and do not want to do anything too complex right now, you need a simple trick that has proven results. Why a simple trick? Time management methods, task lists, and productivity systems can be very complicated, and you’ll probably procrastinate.
And this is why today in the Arata Productivity series we have the simplest trick to increase your productivity. And to be able to use it, first I need to explain to you Parkinson’s Law.
1. Parkinson’s Law: Work expands.
This is one of the most important ideas you will probably learn this year. Already got your pen and paper? So let’s note the full Parkinson’s Law in your notebook: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Understood? The task usually lasts the full time you have to perform it.
If you have four hours to complete a particular task, it’s likely that it will take four hours. But if I told you that you have actually four DAYS to accomplish the same task, it would magically be completed in FOUR DAYS.
Of course, for every rule there are exceptions. And the fact that there are exceptions only confirms the rule. It’s very rare to find employees saying that they finished their tasks before the deadline. Not only that, there are plenty of occasions of missed deadlines and being late.
You can see Parkinson’s Law a lot in the bureaucratic and business world. Think about it: if an employee has the potential to complete a boring activity in an hour, but the boss said he can do in three hours, it is quite likely that the employee will use the full time available. If he is very efficient, he knows he will receive other tasks to complete. The mediocre employee is the one who does as little as possible and is more concerned with appearing busy rather than increasing the efficiency of his work. This is why our previous video was about how to work less and do more.
Even though your case is different, and you follow the work of Arata Academy— just look at our motto “Your continued improvement”—now you understand the general idea of Parkinson’s Law. Let’s see how to use it to our advantage.
2. It is essential to have deadlines to be productive.
Many people recognize that they can only be productive under pressure. Even those who do not admit it will also show more results when there is increased pressure from deadlines.
Therefore, we must first acquire awareness. We must understand that we’ll have difficulty maintaining maximum productivity if there is no deadline. There will be of course the temptation to be distracted, to let laziness take over, to prioritize based on the urgent needs of others, to allow interruptions to change our course. If you already did our fast course, FOCUS, you can identify the enemies of FOCUS.
Time for the commercial break: if you have not done the FOCUS course yet, stop everything immediately, visit the link and register now—it will be worth it. It’s a fast course that you can complete in a single day, and it will help your concentration.
3. Set clear standards.
Because of Parkinson’s Law, the more time we have available to do something, the longer it will take to do it. So what is the logical way to have more productivity? Answer this question in your notebook. Take a break now and answer. As you watched the video, you can probably already guess the simple trick to increase productivity.
You got it right if you said that the trick is to set shorter deadlines to accomplish your tasks. It’s that simple.
By the way, I will be even more radical and offer you this: today you have only ten minutes to do your tasks. Let me explain.
Think of the most complicated activity you have in your to-do list—something you’ve been procrastinating about doing for a long time. Choose it and dedicate ten minutes to carry out the first steps. You need to define in advance the scope of what you will complete in these ten minutes.
Turn on the timer on your phone or your computer. Place an alarm countdown. You will realize when that your ten minutes is running down, and this will give you the sense of urgency that you need to move.
Once the alarm sounds, you will stop the activity and take a break. Stand up, drink some water, open the window, relax. No Facebook! Just relax, and nothing else!
Congratulate yourself for the progress you achieved: you finally began that task that you were putting off. This is the simplest trick you can use to increase your productivity. IT WORKS! When you reduce the time you have, you will complete more tasks. Learn more techniques like this one here in this link.
This is why they say “if you want something done, ask a busy person”—these are the people who will immediately feel the pressure to deliver in the shortest available time.
And then? As soon as you have your quick rest, set your alarm for another ten minutes and do one more round of work. You will realize that you are now warmed up in the activity, and you will be more productive than in the first ten minutes. This is the essence of a method called the Pomodoro Technique.